Interview with Michael Monaco

Michael Monaco is a proud Canadian who resides in Laval, Quebec. Michael’s parents were both born in Ururi, Italy. His eldest sister Mary was also born in Italy, but he and his other three sisters were born in Montreal where the family settled. Michael is the son of internee Vincenzo Monaco and the nephew of internees Antonio and Donato Monaco; all of whom were involved in the family business for decades - the Corona Bakery. During his school years Michael would help his father with bread deliveries on the weekends, but after a year of university he decided to work alongside his father permanently since he thought it was “the right thing to do.” His father Vincenzo was a very religious man, and attended the Italian United Church of the Redeemer in Montreal. Michael says that his father and uncles were very busy with their work at the Corona Bakery and that his father spent most of his spare time there between church and his garden. At the church a vote was held to help determine who should continue as the next minister, and as a result a conflict began between Rev. Augusto Bersani and Rev. Domenico Scalera. Michael recounts that his father voted for Scalera, the minister with fascist views, and that Bersani, an outspoken anti-fascist turned in a list of Scalera’s supporters to the RCMP (Royal Canadian Mounted Police). As a result, Vincenzo was arrested while out on his horse and buggy delivering bread. His uncle, Donato, was arrested later that day at the bakery while Michael and his mother watched. Vincenzo’s six months internment was more difficult on the family left behind and the family business, which was almost lost, but Michael’s father viewed his time at Petawawa as a “vacation” since he was never able to take time away from work before this. Michael explains that his mother buried his father’s Italian World War I uniform and war rifle the day after his arrest. Christmas that year was difficult for the family, but Michael says their real gift was having their father return home on December 27th. Michael Monaco’s father, mother, and eldest sister were all Canadian citizens, but were required to report to the RCMP as enemy aliens, even after their father’s return home.